Actors: Adam Goldberg, Ahna O'Reilly, Gillian Jacobs, Emily Osment
Director: Adam Goldberg
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: Region 1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: July 7, 2015
Run Time: 98 minutes
Audiences have been subjected to an array of male protagonists in arrested development since Judd Apatow’s film career took off, making No Way Jose feel a bit underwhelming and derivative. There are moments of sitcom situation humor which are worthwhile, but the story feels aimless and the characters like watered down rejects from a sub-par Apatow movie. Actor Adam Goldberg tries his hand at directing with a screenplay he co-wrote along with first-time scribe Sarah Kate Levy, but neither have enough experience to save the film from meandering aimlessly and often without as many laughs as desired.
Part of the problem with the screenplay is how much it expects of the audience, providing a protagonist who is neurotically amusing at best. Goldberg stars in the role of Jose, which he wrote for himself, but the best thing that can be said about the role is that it is clearly not a vanity piece. Jose is more than just a series of personality quirks and commitment issues, especially when statutory rape becomes the primary running gag for his character. When his fiancée (Ahna O’Reilly) discovers that Jose is on a phone app for locating registered sex offenders shortly after moving in with him, she begins to have second thoughts about their relationship. It doesn’t help matters that Jose is turning 40-years-old and still clings to the dream of being a career rock star. Instead he has resorted to playing children’s birthday parties with his band, despite the obvious conflict of interest due to his sordid past.
One might assume that the remainder of the film would be Jose progressively maturing in some manner, but his behavior continues to reinforce the red flags from his past. What I found even more bizarre is the way that the friends in his life are completely casual in their reaction to his dysfunction. Even when Jose hires a call girl to visit him while he is sleeping on the couch of his married friend with two young children, the event is treated unbelievably casually the next morning. He is selfish, childish and barely capable of supporting himself, but this is mostly glossed over for a contrived resolution. At a certain point, I began to wish a better partner for his fiancée, and it is never a good sign when you turn against the protagonist of a film. Even more damaging is the movie’s inability to land jokes, making this a comedy which is more painful than painfully funny.
The DVD release includes extra footage, from deleted scenes to an outtake reel. There is also a commentary track with co-writer/director/producer/star Goldberg, who probably could have used a bit more collaboration for his first filmmaking endeavor.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 2/10